TikTok ‘Divest-or-Ban’ Bill Likely To Sail Through Senate, but Could Take Years To Play Out in Court

‘This is the beginning, not the end of this long process,’ a TikTok executive recently told staff.

AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Opponents of TikTok call for a ban on the hugely popular video-sharing app, at the Capitol at Washington. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

TikTok will take the federal government to court if the president signs a bill aimed at forcing a sale of the app by its Chinese parent company, which could happen as soon as this coming week. 

On Saturday, the House passed a national security package with aid to foreign allies that included some unrelated provisions, such as the TikTok divest-or-ban bill. If the legislation is signed, the Communist Chinese parent company, ByteDance, will have one year to sell the app or it will be banned in America. 

The head of public policy for TikTok, Michael Beckerman, recently told staff that he is prepared to “move to the courts for a legal challenge” when President Biden signs the force divestment bill. 

“This legislation is a clear violation of the First Amendment rights of TikTok’s 170 million American users,” he said in a memo to staff, according to Bloomberg. “We’ll continue to fight.”

“This is the beginning, not the end of this long process,” Mr. Beckerman added. 

The House passed the TikTok bill overwhelmingly, with 360 members voting for it and just 58 voting against it. 

Senator Schumer filed a procedural motion to set up debate on the national security package on Saturday, meaning the Senate could take it up as early as Thursday or Friday this week. 

Republicans and Democrats alike believe it will easily sail through the Senate. Senator Cornyn, who supports the TikTok bill, told the Sun that the package would pass “overwhelmingly” in the Senate after the chairwoman of the Commerce Committee, Senator Cantwell, came out in favor of the legislation. 

TikTok’s lobbying operation has been fraught on Capitol Hill. Just days after the text of the legislation was released, it was fast-tracked through the House Energy and Commerce Committee. While the panel debated the merits of the bill, members’ offices began receiving phone calls from crying children and individuals threatening to kill themselves. 

Senator Tillis told the Sun that a young girl called his office and threatened to murder him, but she later got a “talking to” by law enforcement. He told the Sun he would have pressed charges had she been an adult.  

The New York Sun

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